Corrupt police officer jailed over kidnap plot

A corrupt police officer and four other men who plotted to kidnap a bank manager were jailed today.

Pc Mesut Karakas, 25, conspired with Richmond Darko, 25, Ijah Rowe, 24, Jamie Lowe, 25, and Gokhan Kuru, 24, to kidnap a London-based Lloyds TSB manager in an attempt to steal money.

Sentencing at Blackfriars Crown Court, Judge Aidan Marron QC said: "Your collective activity was planned professionally and systematically.

"No-one listening to the probe material will forget the cold, callous way that you behaved."

The five men planned to stage a roadwork scene near the bank manager's home as a distraction for the kidnap.

Police searches uncovered four sets of false number plates, industrial gaffer tape, dust masks, a balaclava, plasti-cuffs, industrial ear protectors and the van that officers believe would have been used in the plot.

Karakas received 10 years for conspiracy to kidnap, two years for misconduct in a public office and one year for assault, with the sentences to run consecutively.

He did not visibly react to the sentence.

Judge Aidan Marron told him: "You were the principal in this conspiracy, about that no-one can have any doubt."

Rosa Dean, prosecuting, said the mens' motive was money.

She said: "The five defendants over a period of months from the summer of 2009 until the date of their arrest, October 21, were planning a kidnap that was both sophisticated and carefully planned.

"The Crown say that this was foiled only by the intervention of police who had clearly been monitoring the defendants for some time."

She added that part of the "sophistication" of the plan was the lengths the defendants went to to avoid detection.

The court heard that a listening probe device recorded Karakas and Lowe discussing the US television show The Wire.

Ms Dean said: "One of the golden rules that any follower of The Wire will tell you is not to talk in the car. Lowe tells them to do just that."

Stephen Ferguson, defending Karakas, said: "The year Mr Karakas spent in custody has been hellish."

He has faced "hatred", "threats to kill him" and six physical attacks because he is a former policeman, the court heard.

Darko, of Prince Phillip Avenue, Grays, Essex, was found guilty of conspiracy to kidnap on October 6. He was sentenced to 11 and a half years in prison.

Karakas, who was sacked from the police service in February this year, and the three others had already pleaded guilty to conspiracy to kidnap.

The ex-police officer, who appeared in court wearing a dark suit and tie and a white shirt, also pleaded guilty to misconduct in a public office.

Karakas, Lowe, Rowe and Darko had all admitted assault.

Lowe was imprisoned for 11 years, Rowe for eight years and Kuru for seven years.

The assault related to an incident in Chapel Market in north London on July 25 last year in which four members of the gang, including Darko and Karakas, as well as Lowe and Rowe, attacked a man with a baseball bat.

The court heard the men were caught on CCTV driving from the scene after they chased the victim down the road and beat him, leaving him with multiple injuries.

Karakas then accessed the incident report, printing it off four times, and sharing it with Lowe.

Lowe pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice after an envelope containing £10,000 was posted through the letterbox of the assault victim asking him to drop the case against the four men.

After the assault the gang, joined by Kuru, started to plot the kidnap.

But anti-corruption officers from the Met's Directorate of Professional Standards made secret recordings in which they were heard discussing how the victim would be questioned to steal money.

The men were arrested in October last year before the plan could be carried out.

Karakas, of Wragby Road, Leytonstone, east London, was suspended from duty and later dismissed.

Lowe, of Evering Road, Clapton, east London; Rowe, of Chobham Road, Leyton, east London; and Kuru, 24, of Birnam Road, Finsbury Park, north London, all pleaded guilty to conspiracy to kidnap between August and October last year.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before